Katy Rutland
November 12, 2014 | Katy Rutland

The Magic of Barrels (and other releases)

After walking beneath the wisteria trellis, you find yourself heaving open a castle-worthy door to enter Terra Blanca’s Tuscan-inspired Tasting Room. As grand as the view and the space are, there is a secret lurking beneath your feet.




A few feet beneath the slate floor lies not a foundation but a yawning cavity of concrete and earth. Dug before any of the building above was erected, this space is vital to the winery. Not only does this oversized basement store our bottled wines (libraried, current, and future), it is home to another of Terra Blanca’s unique tools.


The Barrel Caves.


Housed completely underground, these caves are the largest of their kind in Washington. We in the Tasting Room affectionately call them our Winemaker Keith Pilgrim’s spice cabinet.


Why’s that?


See, not only do the caves store our wine barrels at the perfect temperature and humidity with very little human or mechanical influence but they also hold a barrels as diverse as our guests. Each barrel adds its own characteristic to the wine within because, much like wine grapes grown in different regions, oak grown in different areas gains a personality of its own.


We know you might be thinking: so what? A barrel is a barrel is a barrel, right?




Want proof? Join us in the Tasting Room starting this Friday to sample a brand new release: the 2009 Signature Series Winemaker’s Select Syrah.


This Syrah started out as three barrels that tasted very different. They didn’t fit what we wanted for the Arch Terrace or Block 8 Syrahs, so Keith decided to do something special with them. Blended with these three barrels of Syrah are small percentages of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counnois to make a very aromatic and velvety wine.


The 2009 is the second time unique barrels have been used to craft a third Syrah for our wine lists. Some of you may remember the 2004 Reserve Winemaker’s Barrel Select Syrah. Both names are mouthfuls, but they possess similar fruity qualities and origins.


Club ONYX members, be on the lookout for the 2009. Red Only and Red and White club members will be getting two bottles.


In other news, and something you’ll read more about in next week’s edition of Terra Blanca by the Glass, the 2006 Signature Series Forte Cabernet will also be released this weekend! This is a hearty port-style wine with a robust fruit palate. It is not for the faint of heart, either, but more on that next week.


In the meantime, stay warm! Maybe a glass of Forte is exactly what tomorrow’s snowstorm needs.


Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca


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